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The Explainer: Why has no one won the Lotto jackpot yet?

Is it easier to to win now – or harder?

IT’S QUITE UNPRECEDENTED – the Lotto has rolled over 53 times in a row this year. 

But as the prize is capped at €19.06 million, the funds that would usually be added to the jackpot have instead been distributed to the next prize tiers, making them more valuable.

Just a few weeks ago, the situation caused Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan to call for an audit and investigation of the draw. Representatives from both the National Lottery and the Office of the Regulator of the National Lottery will be before the Finance Committee next Wednesday.

The long rollover has been caused by the fact no one has matched all six winning numbers since early June, but also that two extra balls were added to the draw six years ago. 

When the Lotto first began, 36 numbers were in the mix and the odds of matching all six were 1,974,792 to one.

Throughout the years the number of balls went from 39 in 1992, to 42 in 1994, to 45 in 2006, and finally to 47 in 2015. It might not seem like much to add a few extra numbers, but it has a huge impact on the chances of scooping the jackpot.

The odds of winning it now are almost 11 million to one.

So – what’s the story with the rollover, and does it make it easier (or harder) to win? Joining us on this week’s podcast to explain we have Michael Cronin, lecturer at the School of Mathematical Sciences in UCC, and our reporter Stephen McDermott, assistant news editor at The Journal.

We also hear from Professor Colin O’Gara, clinical professor of Psychiatry at UCD and head of addiction services at St John of God hospital, speaking on behalf of the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland; and Barry Grant, a counsellor and project manager with Extern Problem Gambling.

The Explainer / SoundCloud

This episode was put together by presenters Michelle Hennessy and Gráinne Ní Aodha, and producers Aoife Barry and Nicky Ryan.

If you need help with gambling addiction, get in touch with Gamblers Anonymous via one of their regional contacts, Problem Gambling Ireland on 089 241 5401 or other services listed here. 

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